monsters (by liza)
they called themselves the monsters
because they wanted to strike
fear into the
hearts of men.
and legend has it,
they turned into their dreams.
“We monsters have to stick together.” This is what Victor said, and she smiled at the memory in the dark of the morning, there at the table in the light of a lantern. On the flat surface in front of her, pitted and scarred with age and use, was her guildstone, four gold coins, and … a finger.
Definitely a finger. It was of uncertain origin, hacked off at the base – probably human. A silver ring rested just above the knuckle, somehow cinched down tight; the flesh around it on either side was unmistakably green.
Aunne, of course, paid that no mind – she lowered her head to stare at the guildstone, unblinking, turning over thoughts that were flittering about her head like angry bats. Beside her, the young warlock, Ygraine, slept on the bed in their small inn room, mouth hanging open and drool on the pillow, hair wild. The draenei had pulled the covers up around her earlier, but when they started to char a bit, she removed them and piled them with some suspicion in a nearby corner.
Redemption. Came the thought, unbidden, Is a curious word. I do not think that it means what I think it means, mm? The sudden impulse to run snuck in around the edges, a curious fear that, for a brief moment she relished. Fear was rare enough that it remained a novelty, and the shivery sensation was really quite delightful in its own way. She had to face it eventually, however, and she coaxed that thought to the surface. You are taking care of someone else, and you are not very good at this thing.
“But I will learn!” She muttered to herself quietly, with a faint frown. “There is no one else.”
Oh please, went the thought, do not lie to yourself. THere are others. So many others. Others with smiles, that understand more, that would be better, that would know how to care.
“… I care.” It was a surprising thought for her, and she snuck a glance at the sleeping girl before looking back down at the guildstone, turning it over in her fingers. “Oh. That is not expected.” Truth be told, she had thought that impossible – but, as she considered the idea, she realized that she cared a great deal, about a great many others. The urge to flee rose again.
That’s right, her brain insisted, you should run. Get away. If you care about them you will kill them – like your son, like the one with the golden eyes.
She waved a hand, brushing away thoughts, setting the guildstone gently on the table. “No. I will not. Not anymore. I do not have to.” Her attention turned to the four gold coins, and she idly pushed at them with a finger, rearranging them on the wood. “But this will be a problem now, yes?”
Aunne sighed, and pillowed her head on her arms, looking between the coins and the guildstone.
If you fight, she will hate you. You should do what Victor said. You are hungry, and that would help.
Again, she brushed at the thoughts, irritated. “I will not die. The world is not like it was, yes? There is not the same kind of fighting. It is confusing and messy and everyone is very sad.” She singled out a single coin, pushing it to the middle of the table. “The Marshall will talk to me, yes? Nereia will know, and Victor is exploring a thing that he says will pay and it will be /fine/.”
“We monsters have to stick together,” he had said, and she knew he meant it. She knew what he felt when she looked at Etsionya, and the frightened wolf, and even at him. The others in the guild were people, and they were good, but they did not quite understand.
And then she knew what she would say to the Marshall.
Yes, her thoughts offered, surprised, that is… actually very good.
“It will be different.” She nodded. “But it is necessary. It is what is not here now, yes? And … it will be a thing that matters, and the others will know we are there.”
She eyed the finger. “They will not know all we do, but they will know we are there, yes? And we will watch their sleeping.”